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Thread: Lincoln Park Home Depot: first of its kind

  1. #1
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Lincoln Park Home Depot: first of its kind

    This past fall I decided to photograph the new(ish) Home Depot on North Halsted in Chicago's Linocln Park neighborhood.

    The site was completed in 2003 and is the first 2-story Home Depot in the nation. It was built on a previously large vacant lot (approx. 150ish feet wide) with prime frontage on the North Halsted commercial corridor. The parking is located in a garage on the upper two floors of the building and the building is built to the lot lines.


    The Home Depot in the large white bulk in the distance (looking north)




    Next door to a slightly older commercial development. Helps with sense of scale.




    Front entrance



    Adjacent 19th century commercial urban fabric. Also helps with sense of scale.


    Looking south along North Halsted


    Parking garage entrance from North Halsted



    Sense of bulk from nearby cross street

    Surrounding urban form and scale:





    Across the street
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

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  2. #2
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
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    Hmm so you're saying there is a problem with scale? I can't believe there wasn't a transition of scale for the adjacent properties. I mean whoo hoo they built a parking garage, but what is the point if it looks like that? Maybe the 2 story garage should have been underground? Thanks for sharing the pics.

  3. #3
          mentarman's avatar
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    Better than it could have been, but nowhere near perfect.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Howard Roark's avatar
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    Hummm..

    I would say Mass, not scale is out of whack, I would say if it was set back from the street about 5 to 8 feet, it would probably go a long way to making it fit better, but then again Chicago neighborhoods always seem short on sidewalk space, a product of the late 19th century "machine age" design that built the city.

    The architecture is OK, I will take it over the HD by my place,

    But alas, Lincoln Park, Chads Trixies and Cub fans, enough to make ya barf..
    She has been a bad girl, she is like a chemical, though you try and stop it she is like a narcotic.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian munibulldog's avatar
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    That is so sad. The Home Depot is out of place in that neighborhood due to the building color, the flat panel walls and the scale. Hideous.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ludes98
    Hmm so you're saying there is a problem with scale? I can't believe there wasn't a transition of scale for the adjacent properties. I mean whoo hoo they built a parking garage, but what is the point if it looks like that? Maybe the 2 story garage should have been underground? Thanks for sharing the pics.
    Is this the first posting to the new and improved Cyburbia???

    See:
    http://terraserver-usa.com/image.asp...63&Y=46423&W=3

    The Home Depot is in the lower left corner, the image was taken at its earliest stage of construction. The HD website identifies several other store locations on Chicago's northwest side, too, including sites on North Av and Elston Av. Also, since I have not been by there in the past year or two, what now occupies that large construction site along Clark St (at the east edge of the image)?

    Mike

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    I dont see the issue. New must interat with old. New need not mimic the old.

    Milwaukee is littered with the trash resulting from architects trying to make a building blend with an historic contrext.

    IMHO Home Depot hit a corporate home run for taking the plunge. A 10 minute drive time analysis for that site probably demonstrates that this store will be a cash cow. If I had spare time, I'd do the study just for shats n giggles.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I'm going to agree to a point with Chet. If this were the quality of design that they used on every store, we would be holding them up as the standard for every other big box developer. I do have some concern that the form is a bit too linear, which conflicts with the more vertical forms around it. The architect tried to break that up with the vertical elements on either side, but might have done more. As for the scale, I really don't have a problem with that. I am guessing that other large buildings will be developerd in the area.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    I'm going to agree to a point with Chet. If this were the quality of design that they used on every store, we would be holding them up as the standard for every other big box developer. I do have some concern that the form is a bit too linear, which conflicts with the more vertical forms around it. The architect tried to break that up with the vertical elements on either side, but might have done more. As for the scale, I really don't have a problem with that. I am guessing that other large buildings will be developerd in the area.
    I'll giove you that, but hey, I dont work for The Man anymore! We just started a group to do trade area analysis and store location studies. This location concept is HOT right now.

  10. #10
    It doesn't look that bad for a Home Depot.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian
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    How'd you start analysis firm?

    Quote Originally posted by Chet
    I'll giove you that, but hey, I dont work for The Man anymore! We just started a group to do trade area analysis and store location studies. This location concept is HOT right now.
    Chet, would you mind sharing how you started your firm, particularly how you retained your first clients? While working in a real estate development company, I did market research then followed it up with site selection - and I really liked the work. Most of the work was international, particularly in Mexico. I want to start a firm like yours one day so I'd interested in how you started up. Regards, John

  12. #12
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    Being that I live in a city where Home Depot came in and built an urban store I would love to have that building here as opposed to what they put in, which was basically their generic design with a slightly smaller parking lot. Granted the White facade on the Chicago store is a little stark in comparison with the surrounding buildings but is 99% better than every other big box out there.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Chet
    I'll giove you that, but hey, I dont work for The Man anymore! We just started a group to do trade area analysis and store location studies. This location concept is HOT right now.
    I just completed phase one of a market analysis for the city I am in, coming up with an estimate of about 300,000 square feet of additional retail that the city can accommodate. That is mostly general merchandise. ( http://www.ci.boulder.co.us/planning...mmendation.pdf ) Given that we are all but built out, I expect that we will be promoting stores built like this. Phase two of the analysis is going to include financial feasibility estimates for a select group of sites. I figure I will be in Las Vegas in May, pitching these to the big chains.

    The good news is that there are more retailers to choose from than there were in the past. With the Kmart merger, Sears is expected to speed up the launch of its Sears Grand concept. Penney's is modeling its new stores after a personal favorite, Kohl's. Kroger may also be making a push in this type of store.
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  14. #14
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    I'm going to agree to a point with Chet. If this were the quality of design that they used on every store, we would be holding them up as the standard for every other big box developer. I do have some concern that the form is a bit too linear, which conflicts with the more vertical forms around it. The architect tried to break that up with the vertical elements on either side, but might have done more. As for the scale, I really don't have a problem with that. I am guessing that other large buildings will be developerd in the area.
    I'll have to second Chet on that one, too. That whole middle-north and northwest side area is an interesting, lively and busy mix of the old and traditional and the very new and cutting-edge. This building is as cutting-edge as anything else nearby and should HD someday move on, it looks to me like it would work well converted to other high-visibility retail uses with little of the messing around that one usually faces with more traditional suburban-style 'big boxes'. Kudus to the City of Chicago.

    This is a very healthy neighborhood and the City of Chicago should be doing everything it can to encourage this vitality to spread throughout the rest of the city.

    Mike

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    I like it. It does stand out, and perhaps it is a bit out of scale, but the thing about it that appeals to me is that it's not obviously architecturally a Home Depot. It doesn't have all the little details that corporations use to distinguish their big boxes from the next guy's, and thus, can easily be re-used as something else once HD has milked the home improvement market dry and moved on.
    I don't dream. I plan.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jtmnkri
    Chet, would you mind sharing how you started your firm, particularly how you retained your first clients? While working in a real estate development company, I did market research then followed it up with site selection - and I really liked the work. Most of the work was international, particularly in Mexico. I want to start a firm like yours one day so I'd interested in how you started up. Regards, John
    I didnt. I work for a top 500 engineering firm. Our client base is large. Planning work is a natural offshoot, as is site and market data preparations.

  17. #17
         
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    Its not that bad, at least they tried to design a somewhat better building. It is by no means perfect and another building material would have been more approrpriate. I like seeing this though as we have an area rapidly developing with typical "big boxes" like this and although it is not infill we are trying to get them to build a better building this time around. I know they will do it if forced, so seeing this gives me some hope.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian thestip's avatar
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    I like it too. It sure beeats the typical suburban styled HD we have here in North Buffalo. At least it is pedestrian oriented to some degree. I keep trying to tell friends of mine (non-planners) that all retail development doesn't need 4 football fields of parking built in front and the building itself to sprawl over three acres...
    'Planning Rockstar in training';-)

  19. #19

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    I'll agree with Chet et al. Its a little bulky, but it's nicer than most of the big box stuff in the Clybourne Corridor/North Street area. THAT stuff is awful.

    Now: in my ideal world, the streetscape would consist of smaller local and regional merchants, not a vast Atlanta corporate colony in the middle of Chicago. But, that reflects the realities of the modern economy. Too many attempts to "fit in" fall flat due to poor craftsmanship and fake modern materials. Unlike Britain, we have no tradition anymore of good craftsmanship in construction, and I'm not sure I would really prefer fake brick and an attempt to create a false-looking streetscape of ye olde storefronts here.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    BKM: What are you talking about? This thing is at least as bad as anything at North and Clybourn (except the few buildings with front loaded parking). In fact I'd say this is worse than N&C because it's so out of scale with the area. At least N&C is consistently big-box/industrial.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    BKM: What are you talking about? This thing is at least as bad as anything at North and Clybourn (except the few buildings with front loaded parking). In fact I'd say this is worse than N&C because it's so out of scale with the area. At least N&C is consistently big-box/industrial.
    Maybe the photos are misleading and it is worse?

    In the North and Clybourne area, I just remember horrific windowless gray concrete block walls used for, for example, in the building that houses Banana Republic. This is still better than that and somewhat sleek.

    You do have a point, though, about context (which the poster does try to show). Maybe we are being too kind? Maybe it would have been better sited closer to the other big boxes rather than in the middle of a traditionally scaled street. I know that Union Avenue in SF (a tres chic retail corridor based on the scale of Victorian houses and small shops) killed a proposed Barnes and Noble box. NIMBYism may not always be bad. Still, dressing this box up with fake brick and fake individual storefronts, which you know would be done poorly and unconvincingly, doesn't strike me as a good idea, either.

    You live there. My impressions are only from a brief visit (and payton's website), so I'll defer to your opinion

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Its odd and out of scale, but haven't we been complaining on this site about how big boxes ignore the inner city? Its actually pretty ballsy for Home Depot and the City considering all the contractors who need to park and load there. I wouldn't want to see the neighborhood overrun with huge national retailers, but its good to see a chain tinker with their design to fit in an urban area.

  23. #23
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    I need to weigh in on this.

    When it was originally being constructed in 2002 and at its opening in spring 2003, I was pretty much against it. Mostly, because of the strikingly different facade treatment compared to the adjacent buildings. But as I used the location, it started to grow on me. The major plus for this development is the urban form and pedestrian-orientation. Yes, there is an entrance for the parking and for the loading dock, but that is not much different than the enter/exists required for parking garages.

    It has large windows which allow the pedestrian to window shop as they are walking by. It could be worse. It could be one contiuous blank wall, like most of the urban Walgreens/CVS.

    As for the scale and mass, it could have been a 5 story solid vertical plane from the lot line. The articulation of the facade works nicely.

    I think the difference in size from the neighbors is not really a problem, because this section of N. Halsted is primary pedestrian and a large setback with parking lot would have been more damaging and degrading to the pedestrian.

    As for North/Clybourn corridor, that is an absolute mess. I used to avoid that at all costs.

    Quote Originally posted by mgk920
    ...what now occupies that large construction site along Clark St (at the east edge of the image?
    That was a former CTA bus barn that was redeveloped into two 4 story buildings built to the lot lines along N. Clark St. One is a mixed-use condo building and the other is a Sunrise assisted living facility.

    The west half of the property is being built as multi-million dollar single-family detached houses.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  24. #24
    Cyburbian UpstateNYRox's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by biscuit
    Being that I live in a city where Home Depot came in and built an urban store I would love to have that building here as opposed to what they put in, which was basically their generic design with a slightly smaller parking lot. Granted the White facade on the Chicago store is a little stark in comparison with the surrounding buildings but is 99% better than every other big box out there.
    Are you referring to the Pittsburgh Home Depot in East Liberty/Highland Park?

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